Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The 2007 Minnesota Twins Draft Review: The Final Six.

(For the introduction and rounds one through ten, please click here. To review rounds eleven through twenty, click here.)

This is the area of the draft that is sometimes reserved for descendents of managers (Toby Gardenhire, 41st round in 2005, prior to that, 38th in 2002. Prior to that in 1984, Billy Gardner's kid was draft in the 37th round), local high school athletes chosen possibly to save on the scouting travel budget (Many, including former Wisconsin Badgers QB and Holy Angels (Richfield) graduate Jon Stocco was selected at 45th in 2002 while in 1999 with the very same choice the Twins opted for one Park Center graduate named Pat Neshek who declined and went to college instead), multi-tooled athletes that slipped because no one expects them to sign (1999's 22nd round selection of current Bear and hate crime instigator Ricky Manning Jr) or hidden front office desires that only manifest themselves in later transactions (Nick Punto in the 33rd round in the 1997 draft who decline a contract only to later be included in on the Eric Milton trade. A year prior to that in 1996, they had selected Mike Lamb - who did not sign as well - in the 31st round). Either way, few sign, even fewer make legitimate contributions to the big club. Then again, in 1995 with their 26th round choice, the Twins picked a third baseman/volleyball player out of a small college in Dugald, Manitoba named Corey Koskie.

From picks twenty-one through fifty, the Twins only inked six:

r21.662) Ozzie Lewis - 21-years-old - of

With the 662nd pick overall, the Twins selected a right-handed batting outfielder out of Fresno State. In a outfielder deficient organization, Lewis had an impressive season with Elizabethton, even being named the Appalachian League's Player of the Year. By the standard numbers Lewis did quite well as noted by his .323/.375/.523 batting line in a league whose average is .257/.333/.379 adding an ops that was 186 points higher than the league. His powerful 6'5" frame helped him generate power too: he finished the year with a .200 isolated slugging average where he hit 9 home runs, 18 doubles and 1 triple: that's a whopping 28 extra base hits in 72 hits total (38.8% of his hits went for extra bases). In typical slugger fashion, Lewis strikes out a considerable amount (19.9% k%) and walks less than he should (7.3% bb%) but his contact is good, screaming line drives all over the field in 17% of his balls in play. His babip is high (.385) and will readjust next season and likely see his batting average dip some. While some think plate disipline cannot not be acquired, only time will tell if Lewis can make the necessary adjustments as the competition gets better next season.

r24.752) Charles Nolte - 21-years-old - rhp (rp)

This 752nd pick overall comes fresh from season-ending surgery in 2005 where Nolte was pitching for San Diego State. With the GCL Twins, Nolte pitched in 14 games, accruing 24.1 innings. Nothing less than an extreme groundball pitcher would be the most accruate potrait of Nolte as he managed to induce groundballs on 74% of balls in play which not surrendering a home run. His 3-0 record and 1.85 era is impressive however he is a tad wild. He has walked 10.6% of the 104 batters faced but has struck out 21.2% of those. So effectively wild? Then again, as a middle reliever the last thing you want to do is start adding baserunners when the score is close.

r25.782) Spencer Steedley - 22-years-old - lhp (rp)

From UNC-Charlotte, Steedley had a respectable season with Elizabethton. While is 2-3 record doesn't look impressive, Steedley finished the season strong. His professional career and the month of June started off on the wrong foot. His walk rate was high (11.1%), his era matched (6.75), and a babip was equally as high (.333), it appeared that moving him permanently from a position player to a pitcher might be a mistake. His saving grace was his ability to get a strike out (22.2% of batters faced). His numbers began to improve in July and by the end of August, Steedley was reaffirming the Twins in their decision to move him to the mound: his walk rate had melted (3.3%), his strike out rate grew exponentially (37.7%), the balls put in play were no longer finding green grass (.226) and his August era reflected this improvement (2.30). If his 2008 season starts like the 2007 season ended, he might have the ability to advance. If he regresses into his June form, he might find himself back in Carolina.

r36.1105) Dominique Rodgers - 22-years-old - rhp (rp)

Played at Kent State and in his short amount of work for the GCL Twins (just 9.2 innings), Rhodes faced a total of 47 batters and had an inflated era of 4.66. I don't like to judge players on their standard numbers as much alone (i.e. era, rbi, etc), but when you give up 10 hits and 6 walks in that short amount of time too it would appear that you might not be able to cut it.

r38.1161) Chris Cates - 22-years-old - ss

.202/.262/.235. 3 extra base hits (all doubles) in 144 plate appearances. The numbers are as small as the player (cheap shot, I know). I can't defend them but they are while playing for the Beloit Snappers in the Midwest League. He's living the dream. Kudos.

r43.1294) Andres Diaz - 19-years-old - c

The Twins picked him in 2006 with their 966th pick in the 32nd round but he declined to sign. Not much to report on his inaugural season. Only managed to find himself in four games and got eleven plate appearances.